The global workforce is devolving and becoming decentralised. More and more, we are seeing companies opting to cut the expense of having a physical office and choosing to rather work with their staff in a virtual office. The teams only come together for the occasional face-to-face meetings.
This trend has taken off in the US. In the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the US Employee Workforce Report, it was stated that 3.9 million US employees work from home at least half of the week. This translates into 2.9% of the total US workforce. The telecommuting trend has been much slower to take root in South Africa; however, we are seeing more recently, that employers are allowing more flexible working arrangements for their employees.
The GIG Economy
There is another sector of the working population who prefers not to be tied down to a single employer. These people – or freelancers – are part of the GIG Economy. It has been given this name because their members make their money by working on specific jobs for different people. When they complete the job – or ‘gig’ – they move onto the next one.
Flexible employees need technology to help them work
As these employees are not based in an office environment where they have access to the company’s physical infrastructure and Internet connectivity, they need these systems at their disposal wherever they are:
- GIG Workers or telecommuters need an Internet-enabled device to access the World Wide Web. There are many variants of smart devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops to help them stay connected with their colleagues and clients.
- They need a way to access the Internet. With the proliferation of fibre and ADSL lines to the home and commercial areas, such as coffee shops and retail spaces, there fewer excuses for mobile workers not to be connected. If they don’t happen to be in a Wi-Fi-enabled area, there is always the option of using mobile data.
Technology has an extremely beneficial impact on other areas of our lives, for example education. The ability to learn online has revolutionised this industry. Statistics show that in 2016, the online learning industry earned US$51.5 billion (approximately R716 billion). This figure is set to continue to skyrocket.
Online learning has enabled us to learn when it suits us and at an affordable price. A good example is digital marketing – which is a vital skill for all marketers and business owners to have – which lends itself well to the online learning space as students can continue to work while studying at the same time.
This type of education has grown in stature with recognised learning institutions putting their weight behind it. This is particularly true in digital marketing. With the flexibility that online digital marketing education offers students, it responds well to the need for flexibility that the new generation of workers’ needs. Digital marketing is the skill of the future and to be ahead of your competitors you need to have these skills.
The Digital School of Marketing is an online provider of accredited digital marketing education. To find out more, visit their website on www.digitalschoolofmarketing.co.za call on 0861 428 710 or e-mail: [email protected]